OLMSTEDVILLE - Judy Heideman takes a seat on a brightly colored carpet. Gathered around here are a dozen students, eagerly awaiting her cue.
"Take an orange and put in the pot..." Heideman sings, as her students join in, complete with hand gestures.
The Minerva Central School, like many others is preparing students for kindergarten with a Pre-K program that is designed to increase preparedness for future academic study.
"The Pre-K program is not as academically stressful as the kindergarten program," said Minerva Special Education Teacher Theresa Galusha. "The focus is on fine motor development, and preparation for future literacy training."
Galusha said that through repetition, the likelihood of long-term associative learning is greatly increased.
It is apparently working.
As Heideman, stood-up after apparently finishing a song designed to teach the primary colors, a student exclaimed, "We forgot violet!"
"Its all about preparedness," Galusha said. "Getting them to learn letters and numbers- but here they don't have the pressure that they will at future grade levels."
The Pre-K program incorporates numerous activities, often combining repetitive song with movement and action.
"A lot of the activities use marbles, paper cut-outs and pegs," Galusha said. "These students tend to learn the fundamentals quicker in future years."